In thinking deeply about this ever intriguing subject—What
is ego?—for this issue of WIE
, a captivating thought entered my curious mind
one afternoon: Could it be that in these changing times that we are living in,
in the fertile fields of the emerging spiritual paradigm of the new millennium,
a new formation has emerged—the transpersonal ego? Could it be that in the wake
of the disillusionment caused by so many fallen "enlightened" gurus
and masters, the mantle of authority about all things spiritual has slowly but
surely been usurped by the Ph.D.s, by psychologists who have a deep love for
the spirit, transpersonal psychologists who have become experts not only in
psychology but also in theoretical understanding about the highest reaches of
spiritual attainment? Wait a minute, I thought, this is interesting—is there
a new formation of the perennial ego being created here? One that knows more
about itself, about its birth, evolution, ultimately empty nature and even death
than any other formation of ego yet created? And the inevitable question arose:
Could that kind of extraordinary knowledge about itself inadvertently be, for
the ego, from the point of view of enlightenment, the most sophisticated defense
mechanism ever evolved in the history of mankind? I had to find out! So I called
Kaisa Puhakka, psychologist, Zen practitioner, transpersonal theorist, Clinical
Faculty Director at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and all-around
intellectual giant who single-handedly transcended and included Ken Wilber's
theory of everything at the California Institute of Integral Studies's 1997
conference on "Ken Wilber and the Future of Transpersonal Inquiry."
Puhakka's responses to my questions about the "new formation"
are revealing and indicative of the profound predicament of being a seeker of
self/mind transcendence who at the same time is an expert on the subject. She
wanted it to be clear to the reader, however, that in her view, any attachment
or "position" of knowing was an inherent limitation and that maybe
I, in my position as a "spiritual teacher," in asking these questions,
was falling prey to the very predicament I was pointing to in others. WHO KNOWS?
What follows is a provocative, and hopefully fun, inquiry into the question:
IS THERE A NEW FORMATION ON THE SPIRITUAL HORIZON?